Lean Startup – How I learned

I heard about “lean” methodologies while I was doing masters in Engineering Management. Then I related those concepts with my dad’s work, he’s a mechanical engineer and he always followed lean principles but never told me what he was doing is LEAN or may be I ignored, which is highly possible.

So, while I was half way through working on my first idea Streamline, I watched Eric Ries talk on Lean startup. I liked it and thought of implementing his Lean Startup methodologies. I thought lean startup is about building Minimum Viable Product (MVP), i.e. building product with minimum features so that I can release it.

And you’re correct, I screwed it. Every feature looked minimum to me, so I ended up releasing my version of MVP, which is finished product. Everyone looked at the product, thought some features are cool but never used the product.

This project took almost 6 months to develop and another 4 months to learn that nobody wanted it.

Lessons learned:

  1. Never do it alone: I came up with the idea and I was the only one building the product. I was building this on force.com platform, as none of my friends knows force.com, I was the one designing and writing code. Have someone on your team, so that you have a person to share, push and argue, then eventually find your co-founder. Also, be aware of the industry, needs and how it’s moving.
  2. Lean startup is not just MVP: I learned that lean startup methodologies is not just about product development. It’s how you’re the doing the startup. It includes idea, customer development, pivot, product development, team etc…
  3. Fail fast: After my first project it’s obvious that next time it shouldn’t take 10 months for me to learn that product failed. I should fail fast so that I can pivot (change gears and move).
  4. Misc: I got to know that it takes many more things to do a startup. I learned about market research, customer validation, how to pitch, marketing, sales, partnerships, networking, hiring, few programming languages, web design…. and still learning. I also got to know my strengths and weaknesses.

Of course, I learned these lessons in a hard way, paid the price, but I’m glad I learned.

Now I know what I love doing.

In the next post I’ll share how I applied these lessons while doing my next startup TrendArY.



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